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Cargo ship that destroyed the Baltimore Bridge is towed into port

Tugboats maneuver the damaged container ship Dali into the Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Kent Nishimura

The cargo ship that collided with a bridge in Baltimore nearly two months ago, collapsing it and killing six road workers, was refloated Monday and towed back to port.

Live television footage of the operation showed a fleet of tugboats slowly pushing and towing the M/V Dali away from the remains of the shattered Francis Scott Key Bridge and toward a maritime terminal.

The Key Bridge Response Unified Command said the complex operation involved the Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Maryland Department of the Environment and other agencies.

It said the Dali, still loaded with piles of containers, was refloated at high tide and began the four kilometer journey to the port at a speed of about one mile per hour (1.6 kilometers per hour).

The Singapore-flagged ship has been blocking one of America’s busiest ports since it lost power on March 26 and crashed into a bridge support column, causing it to collapse and killing six road workers who had been patching potholes overnight.

The 106,000-ton ship was en route to Sri Lanka at the time of the accident.

Moving the almost 300 meter long container ship is an important step in the reopening of the main shipping channel.

The accident shut down the port, although temporary channels have allowed some traffic in and out of Baltimore.

Authorities have been working around the clock to clear the fallen bridge and reopen the waterway after the wreckage made it impassable.

Demolition experts last week used explosives to remove parts of the collapsed steel bridge holding the Dali, which still has a crew of 21 on board.

Salvage crews then brought up up to 4.7 million liters of water that had previously been pumped into the Dali to stabilize it as ballast, before releasing the anchors and mooring lines.

– Crew still on board –

The port is a major hub for the auto industry and handled nearly 850,000 cars and light trucks last year — more than any other U.S. port, according to state figures.

In April, the FBI launched a criminal investigation into the incident, with agents boarding the Dali as part of the investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is also investigating, said the ship had suffered two power outages shortly before the disaster.

The crew – twenty Indians and one Sri Lankan – have not been allowed to leave the ship since the accident and have remained on board even during the series of controlled demolitions.

The NTSB said the crew was tested multiple times for drugs and alcohol before and after the accident, but none were detected.

President Joe Biden vowed last month to “move heaven and earth” to rebuild the bridge, pledging federal funds and saying a new channel for shipping traffic would open by the end of May.